Ever since I was born, every four years I have had the World Cup be a part of my life. In the ‘60s my Dad would watch the games on the Mexican stations since the U.S. stations didn’t carry the games. We would hear “GOOOOAAAALLLLL” yelled by the television announcer, and my Dad would pump his legs in the air sitting on his favorite recliner, with all of us kids sitting on the floor woo-hoo’ing with excitement and joy. After a game we would run into the front yard with a soccer ball and kick it around.
One of the themes that run throughout my blogs is the fact that I liken court reporters to great athletes. As a new reporter just licensed and beginning a court reporting career, you might be good enough to be licensed and good enough to do simple litigation, but I promise you in four years you are going to hit a new milestone and become suddenly much better. That happens again at eight years and even twelve years. I was shocked how much better I was in year twelve compared to year eight. One would think after eight years of doing something, you are going to be about as good as you are going to get. But surprisingly, there was a whole new level of greatness that wasn’t just from learning new briefs. I became a much faster, cleaner writer.
Where do these new heights of ability come from? I believe confidence and anticipation are factors. The more you report, the better you can read the room and understand when an objection is going to be made, a read-back is going to be asked for, and when to hold on for dear life when someone is talking at 300+ words per minute, knowing they are going to have to take a breath to allow you to catch up.
As athletes, court reporters can never stop striving to be better. We cannot become “good enough,” or we will never make the World Cup team. I have a tremendous amount of pride in the reporters who work my calendar. I brag to my clients about a court reporter’s special certifications, the fact that I have national and international speed champions covering depositions for me, and that all of my court reporters truly care and want to be the best.
When a court reporter is reporting a high-profile, tense, huge litigation, it is very exciting. Being in a room full of some of the greatest minds in the legal industry, making the record, having the attorneys consider you to be “the most important person in the room” is like being in the World Cup. You have to be the best you have ever been on that given day and during the whole case. The tricky part is you might not know when you are walking into the World Cup. You might think you are covering a last minute doctor deposition, and it turns out you are reporting a patent case for the sequencing of the human genome. Court reporters always have to be in top shape, ready to go.
I wonder if in four years, during the next World Cup, I will be even a better court reporter. I think the answer will be “YES.” In 2011 I will celebrate my 30th year as a court reporter. Can I get better? Faster? I sure hope so. I love competing in the World Cup of Court Reporting!!!! “GOOOOAAAALLLLL”